Our Epic Last Year, And It’s Not Over Yet!

In January of this year, as we embarked on the beginning of 2021, we gathered with our team to plan for what would become an unpredictable, yet epic year for Bailey Builds.  As the sunlight streamed through the window panes of our gallery, we sat together  in our cozy socks, with warm cups of coffee, ready to share more of ourselves with each other, combining our strengths and vision for the new year.  We had plans, we had timelines, we had listed our boxes to check.  And yet, this year reminded us that the ability to innovate is truly one of our greatest assets when life doesn’t go just like we planned. 

And, there are always hidden treasures and blessings to be discovered along the way.

In the beginning of the year, our biggest project was the renovation of the funeral home building into our fully operating Bailey Builds Collective.  We had set the month of June as the Grand Opening of our Bailey Builds store in the new location.  We had planned on having our artist work space available to the community shortly thereafter.  We even had design work mocked up to expand the gallery into a larger event space.  While all of these things are still very much a part of our grand plan, they weren’t able to happen in the timeline we had anticipated.

Our Collective building has come a long way.  We have spent countless hours working on the demo-ing of old walls, sorting through random artifacts of the old funeral home, and enjoying the storytelling of the process.  Yet, as a series of setbacks arose that were out of our control, we have had to modify the expectations of our timeline and focus on making the best out of our usable resources.  This mindset is a key component in the ability to innovate.  You’ve got to be able to take what you have and rearrange the pieces until you have what works for that moment or period. 

Rearranging the pieces of the tangram of Bailey Builds, if you will, led us to making the best lemonade we could out of the lemons of our circumstance.  We chose, in the meantime, to have a Grand Reopening of our current store location, extending our merchandise into the gallery space.  We had procured so many wonderful items from local and regional artists, so we wanted to make those items available to our customers.  The space has turned out beautifully, and is the perfect solution while we wait to continue our work at The Collective.

In the midst of the innovation that we have needed to practice as entrepreneurs, we have been splendidly surprised by the wonderful opportunities that have sprung up in the last year, fully embracing the blessings they have brought.  We have been thankful that 2021 brought back some of the art shows that were amiss in 2020 due to the pandemic.  For artists, these art shows are an integral part of the bread and butter for the year.

We had the privilege of participating in fairs that were new for us.  In June, we had such a warm welcome at the Stone Arch Art Festival in the Twin Cities.  This is the event that kicked off our Arches Collection, which continues to remain a favorite.  We were also thrilled to be honored as a Festival Favorite for this year!

In July we experienced our first Ann Arbor Art Fair, which is the largest Juried Art Fair in the country.  We were blown away by the response we received, and had such an amazing time.  The Ann Arbor Art Fair also showcased the release of our Gatsby Collection, which has truly continued to transform the art we create.

It was during the Ann Arbor Art Fair that we received a call to one of our biggest unexpected adventures of the year.  We were asked by Motortrend to participate in the promotion of the rebirth of the Wagoneer.  I designed a piece that represented the birth of a new generation of Wagoneers, while still paying homage to the classic original.  We recreated this piece as a special keepsake for the participants of a Fireside Chat put on by Motortrend and Wagoneer, at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.  I was even invited to participate on the panel, alongside Wagoneer designers.  It was truly a once in a lifetime experience!

As soon as our feet hit the ground back in Minnesota, after our fairytale experience in California, it was all hands on deck to prepare for the MN State Fair.  We dived in head first, embracing the challenge to stand out in the massive crowd by building our own Bailey Builds Studio on location!  Our team worked around the clock for nearly a week, and the result of our labor paid off.  Our studio space was a beautiful place to showcase our work at the most trafficked state fair in our country.  We had the privilege of meeting so many of you, as well as being presented with one of the Best of 2021 MN State Fair Awards.

If this was where our year ended, it would have been epic.  But we still managed to squeeze in another amazing art fair.  The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s Art Fair On the Square was a phenomenal way to end the art festival season.  We received the great honor of an Invitational Award, which invites us back to participate next year without having to go through the competitive application process.  It was also our best two day art show ever, selling over ¾ of our inventory.

With less than two months left of the year of 2021, we hope to close it off with a good dose of cheer during this holiday season.  We love this time of year!  We love making handcrafted art that warms any space it finds its home.  We love pouring into our community, encouraging an atmosphere of joy and connection.  We look forward to sharing our fun holiday collections, and we hope to see you at our Small Business Saturday Event on Saturday, November 27th, at our Grand Avenue store.  Thanks for being a part of the journey with us!  We are so thankful for you!